Cindy Brady, Teen Vogue the training bra…in the shadow of every feminine development, an enthusiastic junior version edges toward the spotlight. Menopause is no different, packing along its sidekick, perimenopause, for our early confusion and enjoyment. There’s a lot of talk and frustration surrounding its symptoms on Body of Eve so here’s a quick drilldown on the hormonal appetizer known as perimenopause.
The good news: it’s not menopause
The bad news: it feels hilariously similar to menopause
In broad strokes, perimenopause affects women 10 years prior to the start of menopause, essentially gifting 30 and 40-something females with symptoms and stress akin to the big show. The main distinction is your body’s slow, not yet final, end to its reproductive years, with ovaries still releasing eggs into perimenopause’s early stages. Although this age range presents a drop in fertility, you can still become pregnant if you’re perimenopausal.
Perimenopause means “around menopause,” a definition that’s really too vague to be helpful. As it fades into menopause, depending on the start of your experience, perimenopause could last between four months and ten years. Your menstrual cycles may change, increasing or decreasing in length as estrogen levels become uneven. Lots of ranges, lots of maybes, and a whole lot of hang in theres while you welcome a possible parade of hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness, and other visitors.
There are basic steps you can take to limit the effect. To include:
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid large meals
Just immediately quit everything you use, in moderation, to cope with the rigors of daily life. The standby solution so simple it likely came to you already, probably in the nagging tone of your mother or favorite ex.
To be serious….it’s good advice. Maintaining a consistent state of wellness will help you understand the impact and flow of your symptoms, and give you the power to address their severity with your physical and mental health providers. The focus we give ourselves is crucial. Any effort placed on staying rested, savvy and in control of your experience is an intelligent investment.
These are your final periods, your last dance with fertility. For some of us, these gifts won’t be missed. For others, however, it’s an interesting goodbye that might pack a punch. Try to remain gentle with your reaction and your sense of self. If it’s helpful to share, let those closest to you know you’re experiencing a shift. And always remember your resources and community here at Body of Eve.
Are you perimenopausal? How did you sort and track your symptoms? How are you handling your experience so far?